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Full text of "An Alumni Gregory memorial : University of Illinois Memorial Building and Art Collection"

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Issued Weekly 

. „, June 1, 1914 
Vol> XI r, mW ,i 1912 at the post office at Urbana, Illinois, undei 
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JUNE, 1914 

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in 2013 




It is agreed among those concerned that some suitable testimonial 
should be instituted or erected on the University campus, in honor of 
the man, who more than any one else, and in a large sense more than all 
others, laid the foundations as they were laid, and in the earlier years 
shaped the character and scope of the institution which has developed 
into the University of Illinois as we know it — Doctor John Milton 
Gregory, the fii'st Regent (President). 

He was elected to his high office March 12, 1867, and served with 
great distinction and winsome favor until September 1, 1880, when he 
resigned because his strength seemed to him unequal to the burden he 
had assumed and appeared inevitable while he continued in the position. 

This is not the place for an historic account, but it is becoming to 
say that what transpired in those early years is now recognized in 
wonderful accomplishments. Out of a chaos of ideas, of widely divergent, 
mostly crudely formed ideals, confusedly entangled, the old with the 
new, the good with the bad, the possible with the impracticable, the 
personal with the patriotic — there came forth clearly formulated plans, 
splendidly organized procedures, richly prophetic beginnings, which in 
their fair developments makes the institution what it is today. In the 
preparation for the remarkable results which have followed, there was 
in it all and thru it all, one inspired and inspiring voice, one towering 
leadership, one man who devised and directed, one who eloquently 
pleaded when oratory was effective, one who vigorously battled when 
contests Were unavoidable. Let any one unfamiliar with the inner 
history of the period, read the paper prepared by Doctor Gregory, called 
the "Report of the Committee on Courses of Study" etc., published in 
the First Annual Report of the Board of Trustees, to find at once the 
masterly mind enlisted in the service of the new institution during the 
pregnant years of its organization and development — years and activities 
whose influence has mightily affected the whole subsequent character 
and life of the University, if indeed they are not responsible for its very 
existence as such. 

It is to this man whose memory we venerate and love ; this maker, 
this master ; this founder, this fabricator ; this pilot, this captain ; this 
father, this friend — to whom we the inheritors of the fruits of his genius 
and of his devoted labors, propose to provide something commemerative 
of his service, his consuming devotion, his prevailing power. 

The University of Illinois is not, Ave may assume, in dire need of 
money, insatiable as is the absorbing maw and efficient as is its financial 
digestion. But the institution is a human one, it is founded on human 
needs, and thrives only as it touches human sympathies and desires, only 


as it satisfies human aspirations and wins human affections. Fortunaterj 

it lias great wealth of this kind, much more than that represented if they 
could be compared in financial exhibits. It is probably true that the 
University of Illinois leads significantly in this respect among others of 
its kind. There is rich abundance of good will, loyal devotion, 
stimulating pride, affectionate regard. 

There is little however to give tangible or visible evidence of this 
its best asset, little to give expression to the existing wealth of esteem and 
love, little to demonstrate that the wise counsels and devoted, often 
heroic labors of founders and builders are recognized or appreciated. 
Kind words, glowing eulogies, are very good so far as they go, but when 
at their best they leave entirely untouched another form of expression 
embodied in material monuments. This is widely understood and people 
everywhere obey their best impulses and noblest instincts in erecting 
statues and building permanent memorial structures associated with 
great movements and dedicated to great men. That there is not more 
of it, usually comes from the want of collective endeavor. It is hard to 
get minds united, preferences pooled, sentiments centralized. This has 
been true with us. The story in a few words may be given as follows, — 


There was wide appreciation of the work and influence of Doctor 
Gregory in the earlier years ; but, especially from the time the grave was 
made upon the campus, the thought was often expressed that some 
suitable testimonial should be erected to the man whose remains rest 
therein. This feeling all along was a general one, concurred in by 
officials, advocated by alumni, urged by friends, shared by students as 
year by year they came and went, and favored by interested people at 
home and abroad. The sentiment grew with the passing years, especially 
among alumni, until at length a conference, previously arranged for, 
was called on Alumni day 1912, resulting in a canvass to ascertain 
further what members of the Alumni Association thought should and 
could be done by themselves. In the mean time Mr. Homer A. Stillwell 
of Chicago, ex- '82, who upon a visit had sought out the grave and was 
touched by the small prominence given to it, offered to contribute a 
goodly named sum towards a suitable memorial. This stimulated action 
and the committee reported to the Executive Committee of the 
Association, in dune 1913, that the feeling was very prevalent and 
almost unanimous that something should be done by the alumni. The 
amount of money suggested was most commonly put from $25,000 
to $50,000. 

The Executive Committee referred the report to the Alumni Council 
and by this body it was referred to the new Executive Committee with 
the recommendation that a special Gregory memorial committee be 
appointed, with Mi-. S. A. Bullard as chairman, to take the matter in 
charge. This new Executive Committee again favored action, approved 
the recommendation of the Council and instructed the President of the 
Association to appoint the proposed memorial committee and also to 
call into conference the President of the University, that of the Board 


of Trustees, the chairman of the Trustees' Committee on Buildings and 
Grounds, the members of the Alumni Executive Committee, those of the 
Memorial Committee and Professors Burrill and White. 

After some unavoidable delays this Conference was called by 
Mr. Bollard, now President of the Alumni Association, for May 2, 1914, 
at the University, to discuss the whole matter and to decide if possible 
upon some definite form of memorial structure. 

When the meeting was called to order there were present the 
following named delegates : 

President James 

President W. L. Abbott and Mr. 0. W. Hoit of the Board of 

Professors Burrill, Baker, and White of the Faculty, and 
President Bullard and Messrs. J. E. Armstrong, H. M. Dunlap, 

F. L. Hatch and Peter Junkersfeld of the Alumni 

Those absent were : 

Professor Talbot, Messrs. H. J. Burt, J. N. Chester, E. G. 

Graham, J. C. Llewellyn, J. A. Ockerson and Lorado Taft. 


After full discussion during which many suggestions were made, 
often widely different in character, unanimous agreement was at length 
reached and all voted for the following resolution : 

"Resolved, that the memorial to be erected to Dr. Gregory on the 
University campus be a Gregory Memorial Building and Art Collection, 
that $150,000 be raised for the purpose, and that the University Trustees 
be requested to assign a site for the building south of Lincoln Hall, west 
of the Auditorium and facing the site chosen for the new Library 
building. ' ' 

Later, on the same day, the recommendation of the Conference was 
approved by the memorial committee and Dr. T. J. Burrill was appointed 
director of a campaign with Messrs. Bullard, Baker and Dunlap as a 
subcommittee, to carry the proposition into effect. 

It was a great step forward to gain this unanimous agreement on the 
part of the committee and the designation so clearly marked of the kind 
and cost of a memorial. The site selected is for one of the major campus 
buildings, near the center of things as the campus develops. 


By the help of the accompanying plates the location and 
surroundings can be easily made out. Plate I. shows, on a small scale, 
the arrangements of the present buildings and wonderful suggestions for 
future ones. Along the west side south of Green street occur in order: 
the Library Building (with a new extension on the south), the Commerce 
Building (only the east half now up), the Womans' Building, Lincoln 
Hall (east half now existing), and the proposed Gregory Memorial 
Building, with the Auditorium directly east, across Burrill avenue. 
Facing this Memorial building on the south is the proposed new library 


structure, marked 8 on the plate, while the new Armory, marked 7, is 
Been on the west. 

We cannot follow further here a description of the parts of the new 
campus, hut this plate gives evidence enough of the future outlook and 
shows the centralized location of the coming memorial building. 

Turning to Plate II., a better understanding of the proposed building 
site and its immediate relations can be gained, for this shows on a larger 
scale this portion of the campus. In the center is the Auditorium with 
a proposed addition, in lighter shade, on the south. This latter faces an 
open park, with Burrill avenue on the west and a similar new avenue on 
tlie east, and between the building and the park is the proposed Armory 
avenue, crossing the campus east and west with provisions for the street 
railroad in a subway. 

Note the L-shaped building sites on either sides of the Auditorium — 
that on the east suggested for the School of Music, that westward for the 
Gregory Memorial. The east and west extension of the latter is the part 
now in question with the shadowy expectation that some day the name 
will apply to a structure occupying this whole area. 

The building now under special consideration has on the ground 
plan presented on Plate II., a length of 186 feet and a width of 66 feet 
(at the eastern end), and is to be 3 stories in height, with south face 
somewhat as shown in Plate III. The north face will have similar 
treatment, making a dignified, noble appearing structure, admirably 
suited to the site and to the proposed use. 

As previously remarked the Alumni Association and the special 
cause it here espouses are extremely fortunate in having available this 
very acceptable, help-inspiring site, and the Association is fortunate too 
in tlie selection of the kind of a memorial which can never grow old, but 
which must grow in interest and value as time passes. With a good and 
safe place for their exhibition and preservation, richly valued additions 
will constantly be made to the art treasures, while older possessions 
will yearly gain in value as they pass from existing to historic 

Further to explain the relations of the proposed building with those 
immediately adjoining, Plates IV. and V. are added showing respectively 
the Auditorium and Lincoln Hall as they appear from a point in the 
open space in front of both buildings. From this same viewpoint the 
northeast perspective of the Memorial Building will show between the 
others. Tins will be understood if on turning again to Plate II. the 
point of view is located as designated and sight be directed to the 

This association of buildings must impress everyone favorably 
concerning present conditions of things and nothing can better be 
suggested toward insurance of undated permanence and stability, 
whatever follows in campus development and whoever follows in 
('Diversity management. 

The name Gregory can never be lost to, or eclipsed in, University 
history, hut whether or not it ever becomes comparatively less important, 
the memorial which had its inseption in the Conference Resolution of 


May 2, 1<)14. will stand as well for other illustrious names and for the 
great deeds that find place in the perennial freshness of grateful 
appreciation. The structure and its contents is to be of a general 
memorial character for all time and for all worthy interests. 


Those of the older days well remember the Art Collection exhibited 
on the fifth floor of the "New Building" (University Hall). It was 
for many years the show place of the University, and visitors were al- 
ways taken to it. Very often even those from far distance inquired for it, 
because its fame was widespread. And the influence it exerted in regard 
to culture and taste was certainly considerable. There are those of the 
student body of the 70s and 80s wdio now assert their whole lives have 
been different from what they would otherwise have been on account of 
this art collection. 

It owed its existence to Doctor Gregory's personal efforts. He 
started the original movement, made personal contributions for it, 
received subscriptions from others after his presentations, devoted to it 
the proceeds of lectures and entertainments, and with the money thus 
secured — about $4,000 — went to Paris at his own expense and purchased 
the very excellent collection of casts of famous sculptural pieces, the 
large number of engravings and other instructive art objects. He asked 
of the Trustees a little money for fitting the room and- installing the 
objects ; otherwise the expenses Avere provided as has been told. 

When the room was urgently demanded for other purposes the 
pieces were distributed Avidely in University rooms, and because they 
are now so disseminated they make no impression. So true is this last 
that it is commonly supposed they are mostly lost. This is not true. 
They can be largely gathered again and will make a good beginning for 
a new collection. 


It is umvise to try to predict at this time what the building details 
will be or what will be the prominent features of the exhibit to be 
contained therein. A pretty good answer to such an inquiry is to be 
found in the outcome of a very similar project now well on in 
development on the campus of the University of Michigan — an Alumni 
Memorial Hall, dedicated May 11, 1910. It cost $206,000 of which there 
was raised by an alumni committee the sum of $156,000, and that of 
$50,000 was contributed by the Board of Regents with the understanding 
that the building should to some extent house distinctively University 
affairs. The Alumni Association has headquarters in the building and 
a general reading room open to all also has a place here. A large sized 
Faculty club room in the basement is found to be very useful. A lecture 
room for the department of Art and Design is also provided, and a fine 
skydighted Sculpture Gallery is at present used for public assemblies. 

Otherwise the building is for art exhibitions and the collections 
now in place represent a value beyond that of the cost of the building. 
The "LeAvis Collection" of paintings is prominent among these. As 


one enters the wide entrance hall attention is at once directed on the 
right to a fine bronze bas-relief of President Angell and to a similar one 
on the lei't. just unveiled, <>i' President Tappan. the first executive. There 
is space on the walls of this noble hall for a dozen such large medallion 
figures and in time they will contribute an imposing but finely- 
appropriate affect. 

The attractive building and its abundantly interesting contents 
constitute something to be proud of on the part of those contributing 
to the fund by which the creation became possible. The largest 
subscription towards the building was $10,000. Some three years were 
required to complete the canvass made by the members of the memorial 
committee wholly without financial compensation. 


Of course it is thoroly understood that it will require a vigorous, 
persistently pushed campaign, and a hearty, sacrificing response to 
secure pledges adding up the sum named for the memorial as planned. 
It is a large undertaking, a very large financial proposition, which cannot 
be contemplated without some trepidation, and cannot be made a success 
without the willing assistance — helping to the hurting point — of 
practically every one to whom application is naturally made. But with 
a combined, united, fervent, heart-compelled, love-inspired, effort, 
magnificent results are sure to follow, and the sacrifice to the individual 
will be lost in the glory of the great general accomplishment. And 
again, let it be said, that the financial and material measure will be far 
outdone by the fraternal and filial benefits which the former merely 
serves to set forth, in the only language capable of adequate and 
universal interpretation. In the contributions one may have only a 
small share ; in the full, grand benefit and blessing each may claim the 
whole. Each contributor in money may say of the whole, "This in 
affectionate good will is my memorial gift.'' 

The campaign for money may be said not to have begun, tho an 
announcement of grandly inspiring moment is otherwise to be made to 
the assembled Alumni Association, and when more than one such an 
initiatory uplift can be reported, enthusiasm sufficient to complete the 
job will not be wanting ! 

S. A. Bullard, Springfield, Chairman 

Ira 0. Baker, Urbana 

T. J. Burrill, Urbana 

H. M. Dunlap, Savoy 

Fred L. Hatch, Spring Grove 

O. W. Hoit, Geneseo 

J. C. Llewellyn, Chicago 

Lorado Taft, Chicago 

Committee on Gregory Memorial 
Prepared for the Committee by T. J. Burrill. 

[Since the above was written the Trustees have formally assigned 
the site described in the foregoing for the Gregory Memorial Building] 


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